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GB virus C
Virus classification
Group: Group IV ((+)ssRNA)
Order: Unassigned
Family: Flaviviridae
Genus: Unassigned
Species: GB virus C

GB virus C (GBV-C), formerly known as Hepatitis G virus (HGV), is a virus in the Flaviviridae family which has not yet been assigned to a genus, is known to infect humans, but is not known to cause human disease. There have been reports that HIV patients coinfected with GBV-C can survive longer than those without GBV-C, but the patients may be different in other ways. There is current active research into the virus' effects on the immune system in patients coinfected with GBV-C and HIV.[1][2]



Hepatitis G virus and GB virus C (GBV-C) are RNA viruses that were independently identified in 1995, and were subsequently found to be two isolates of the same virus.[3][4][5][6] Although GBV-C was initially thought to be associated with chronic hepatitis, extensive investigation failed to identify any association between this virus and any clinical illness.[7]


GBV-C is a member of the Flaviviridae family and is phylogenetically related to hepatitis C virus but appears to replicate primarily in lymphocytes, and poorly if at all in hepatocytes.[8][9] GBV-A and GBV-B are probably tamarin viruses, while GBV-C infects humans.[10]

Human infection

The majority of immune-competent individuals appear to clear GBV-C viraemia within the first few years following infection and although the time interval between GBV-C infection and clearance of viraemia (detection of GBV-C RNA in plasma) is not known, infection may persist for decades in some individuals.

Approximately 2% of healthy US blood donors are viraemic with GBV-C, and up to 13% of blood donors have antibodies to E2 protein, indicating prior infection.

Parenteral, sexual and vertical transmission of GBV-C have all been documented, and because of shared modes of transmission, individuals infected with HIV are commonly co-infected with GBV-C. Among people with HIV infection, the prevalence of GBV-C viraemia ranges from 14 to 43%.[11]

Some studies have suggested that co-infection with GBV-C will actually slow the progression of HIV disease.[12]


  1. ^ Mosam, A.; Sathar, M. A.; Dawood, H.; Cassol, E.; Esterhuizen, T.M.; Coovadia, H.M. (2007). "Effect of GB Virus C Co-infection on Response to Generic HAART in African Patients with HIV-1 Clade C Infection". AIDS 21 (10): 1377–1379. doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e3281532cb8. PMID 17545721.  
  2. ^ Jung S.; Eichenmüller, M.; Donhauser, N.; et al. (2007). "HIV Entry Inhibition by the Envelope 2 Glycoprotein of GB Virus C". AIDS 21 (5): 645–647. doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32803277c7. PMID 17314528.  
  3. ^ Simons, J. N.; Pilot-Matias, T. J.; Leary, T. P.; et al. (April 1995). "Identification of Two Flavivirus-like Genomes in the GB Hepatitis Agent". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92 (8): 3401–3405. doi:10.1073/pnas.92.8.3401. PMID 7724574.  
  4. ^ Simons, J. N.; Leary, T. P.; Dawson G. J.; et al. (June 1995). "Isolation of Novel Virus-like Sequences Associated with Human Hepatitis". Nat. Med. 1 (6): 564–569. doi:10.1038/nm0695-564. PMID 7585124.  
  5. ^ Yoshiba M.; Okamoto, H.; Mishiro, S. (October 1995). "Detection of the GBV-C Hepatitis Virus Genome in Serum from Patients with Fulminant Hepatitis of Unknown Aetiology". Lancet 346 (8983): 1131–1132. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(95)91802-7. PMID 7475605.  
  6. ^ Birkenmeyer, L. G.; Desai, S. M.; Muerhoff, A. S.; Leary, T. P.; Simons, J. N.; Montes, C. C.; Mushahwar, I. K. (1998). "Isolation of a GB Virus-related Genome from a Chimpanzee". J. Med. Virol. 56 (1): 44–51. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1096-9071(199809)56:1<44::AID-JMV8>3.0.CO;2-N. PMID 9700632.  
  7. ^ Alter, H. J. (June 1996). "The Cloning and Clinical Implications of HGV and HGBV-C". N. Engl. J. Med. 334 (23): 1536–1537. doi:10.1056/NEJM199606063342310. PMID 8618611.  
  8. ^ Leary, T. P.; Muerhoff, A. S.; Simons, J. N.; Pilot-Matias, T. J.; Erker, J. C.; Chalmers, M. L.; Schlauder, G. G.; Dawson, G. J.; Desai, S. M.; Mushahwar, I. K. (1996). "Sequence and Genomic Organization of GBV-C: A Novel Member of the Flaviviridae Associated with Human Non-A–E Hepatitis". J. Med. Virol. 48 (1): 60–67. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1096-9071(199601)48:1<60::AID-JMV10>3.0.CO;2-A. PMID 8825712.  
  9. ^ Thurner, C.; Witwer, C.; Hofacker, I. L.; Stadler, P. F. (May 2004). "Conserved RNA Secondary Structures in Flaviviridae Genomes". J. Gen. Virol. 85 (Pt 5): 1113–1124. doi:10.1099/vir.0.19462-0. PMID 15105528.  
  10. ^ Simons, J. N.; Desai, S. M.; Schultz, D. E.; Lemon, S. M.; Mushahwar, I. K. (1996). "Translation Initiation in GB Viruses A and C: Evidence for Internal Ribosome Entry and Implications for Genome Organization". J. Virol. 70 (9): 6126–6135. PMID 8709237.  
  11. ^ George, S. L.; Varmaz, D.; Stapleton, J. T. (2006). "GB Virus C Replicates in Primary T and B Lymphocytes". J. Infect. Dis. 193 (3): 451–454. doi:10.1086/499435. PMID 16388494.  
  12. ^ Zhang, W.; Chaloner, K.; Tillmann, H. L.; Williams, C. F.; Stapleton, J. T. (2006). "Effect of Early and Late GB Virus C Viraemia on Survival of HIV-infected Individuals: A Meta-analysis". HIV Med. 7 (3): 173–180. doi:10.1111/j.1468-1293.2006.00366.x. PMID 16494631.  

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